Happy Birthday Vincent!

Today is the first birthday of my sweet baby boy, Vincent. I just went for a run and through the sweating and hills I was thinking about how quickly a year flies by and how much changes. I feel like the first year of a baby’s life gives a perspective to moms on life, living, time, growth and family. 
The birth experience itself can be a place where life and death take on brand new meaning for a mom.  And each time (for a mom who has more than one child) can shape that meaning into different things.  Labor with Vincent was so clearly different from each of his older siblings — the time (27 hours!), the nature (26.5 hours of….”well, is this baby going to decide to be born today?”), the sweet way he was so quiet as long as he was in my arms and would start screaming when they took him away from me (and he still does that today!)
Throughout Vincent’s first year, I have tried to cherish what it means to have him in our family.  

Dominic has a little brother and Vincent has a best-est buddy.  
 
The girls have gotten a chance to help in ways they never could before due to the fact they are at ages where they can.  
Craig and I have learned a whole new way of balancing what needs to be done in our family with regards to our jobs, their school schedules, extra-curricular activities and just the whole loving-on-everyone thing.  
Many times it is not readily clear just what God’s plan for you is while you’re in the middle of it. Even though I have struggled to understand and Craig and I have continued to discern whether Vincent is the last little one, or just the beginning of the next string of little ones, I do know that God intended Vincent for this world at just this time and just this place and just this place in our family.  My ponderings often turn to the fact that Vincent is a #5, his dad was a #5 and his paternal Grandpa was a #5.  There has to be something about that.  Because his paternal Grandpa was a loving and generous man by all accounts and his dad is the most gentle, loving soul I know.  So, while Vincent will make his own way in the world, I have no doubt  the potential is there for something great with this one.
My mama’s boy…  
My fireball… 
I love you…  
Happy Birthday!

7 Quick Takes – 27

— 1 —
I walked to our Cathedral from work over the noon hour and went to Daily Mass today!  Yay!  I really need to commit to doing that every day…at least more often anyway.  I had started walking over lunch down to the Farmer’s Market to get produce.  So when the Fortnight for Freedom started yesterday, I was trying to figure out how I could do more praying and decided I would attempt daily Mass at least today.  Now I am looking at my schedule to see how I can do it more often.

— 2 —
So this past week, I got 61 activity points.  But it didn’t do much for me on the scales at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday.  Boo on me.  A friend had a good point that maybe I’m not eating enough to feed my body properly for my increase in activity.  While she gave me some food for thought…I really think my problem last week was eating fried chicken and cinnamon rolls on Saturday followed by a breakfast buffet on Sunday followed by a birthday party where I consumed cake on Tuesday.  I suppose it could have been way worse, huh?

— 3 —
Got to meet our parish’s new priest last night at our parish welcome potluck.  It was nice.  The priest is something like 26 and he looks it!  I love seeing new solid young priests coming out of seminary (this year our parish had 7 total).  I told Father we’d like to have him over for dinner and that perhaps I should make the call because I’ve been waiting on my husband to invite our pastor over for awhile now and maybe the project just needs a woman’s touch.  Nah…actually, we’re just too darn busy.  But we really need to make time.

— 4 —
At work today, the Cafeteria had “Sushi Friday.”  I don’t know if I have ever mentioned on here before how much I love sushi.  Well, i only got 2 pieces to go with my salad because I wasn’t sure how many PointsPlus they are.  Well it’s only 1 PointsPlus per piece!!!  Yay!!  I’m glad to know that because Sushi…is DEFINITELY worth the points.

— 5 —
My baby boy has an ear infection.  He’s been spiking a fever off and on for the last week and a half.  At the same time he has been whining and grabbing his mouth, so I kind of thought it was just teething.  My kids have always gotten a bit congested when they are getting teeth in, so I chalked it up to that.  But finally, last night, I had had it.  Vincent was up for 2+ hours just whining and crying and hot with a fever again.  So, Craig took him to the doctor and they discovered an ear infection.  He turns 1 next Saturday and this is the only ear infection he’s had.  I don’t know if he’s been in the pool or not (Craig takes the kids swimming if they go).  But either way…I’m not glad he has an ear infection, but I am glad to have an answer for the last week and a half and sad that we didn’t tend to it sooner.  😦

— 6 —
Dani and Helen are doing really well with swimming lessons.  The teacher for Dani this session was surprised she hadn’t passed her level, so he asked her to bring her test paper and she did.  So now he’s working specifically on those things that she had trouble with.  I think she’s gonna pass this time.  🙂  Helen has gotten so brave and gets her head underwater and blows her bubbles.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have my kids swimming.  The boys will be projects starting next summer, but it’s a HUGE relief to get the girls all to a point where they will be able to survive and have fun in the pool.

— 7 —
Sarah and her team have improved in volleyball.  A LOT!  It’s exciting to watch!  They are going to be in 6th grade this year and I am looking forward to seeing how they do this fall.  Dani gets to start playing this fall, too!  I’m glad my girls at least want to try volleyball.

Can you believe we only have one more week of June!?!?  Holy Moly!  Time flies!

Okay, so I had to add a BONUS!  #cathsorority ladies rock!  We are gonna do 24 hours straight of rosaries and I am just floored at the commitment of everyone to do this.  God is good and I feel so blessed to know you and belong to such a wonderful Catholic women’s community!

For more Quick Takes, be sure to head over to Conversion Diary.  Thank you, Jen, for hosting!

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty 

O God our Creator, 

Through the power and working 
of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in
the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving
truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of
religious liberty. 
Give us the strength of mind 
and heart
to readily defend our freedoms
when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our 
voices heard 
on behalf of the rights of your Church 
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. 

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, 
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church 
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, 
so that, with every trial withstood 
and every danger overcome— 
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, 
and all who come after us— 
this great land will always be “one nation, under God, 
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

A Fortnight for Freedom – Who’s In?

June 21, 2012 is the beginning of a Fortnight for Freedom.  The Bishop Helmsing Institute Blog had this post explaining what the Bishops prescribe and how to carry it out.  It’s a time for increased, focused prayer, study, fasting and public action.  

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Today, I commit to a rosary every day for a fortnight (14 days) for the intercession of our blessed mother as we seek to be heard and have our freedom to practice our faith protected.  
I’m not sure what kind of public action I can take, but I do intend to do a video to share with many other women through the Women Speak For Themselves initiative. 

I also intend to try and make it to Mass on Friday, the dual feast days of St. Thomas More and St. John Fischer.

14 days – a Fortnight 
PRAYER. STUDY. FASTING.

Are You In?

 

Catholicism Nerd: The Return of the Altar Rails

It’s been a few months since I explored a topic from my nerdy Catholic perspective

Photo Credit

Why were Altar Rails part of the structure of a Church in the first place?  

The Altar Rails encircled the altar on all sides.  There was often a gate through which the bishop, priest, deacon or acolytes would enter in order to say the Mass.  The gate was small – narrow if you will.  The Sanctuary houses the Tabernacle – the “Holy of Holies” where our Lord remains after Mass.  The Altar Rails provided a boundary indicating the end of one space and the beginning of another.  As we are still here on this Earth, the boundary is a visual reminder of the holiness we still hope to attain and the Grace we still need in order to end up in Heaven.

When I mentioned yesterday that our pastor is planning to install altar rails into our “modern” church, I thought…why did churches ever remove them in the first place?  According to last year’s article in the National Catholic Register, there is nothing in Vatican II documents mandating their removal.  

One reason given was the idea that kneeling was a position of submission and seen as disrespectful to the modern person.  I find this strange.  But maybe that’s why I’m a Catholic nerd, haha.  I get that “the modern person” doesn’t want to kneel before any mere man…but we’re talking about God, the One who made us, the One without whom we do not exist, inside His house.  I mean, if you don’t believe you’re there in the presence of God, then you probably aren’t approaching to receive the Eucharist anyway, and if you are a Catholic disposed to receive the Eucharist, then, you should believe you’re approaching God, and I’m not sure why a person in such a state does not want to kneel in His presence and pay Him the homage and reverence due to Him as the Creator of all.  

The idea of making Catholic sanctuaries to look and feel more like Protestant worship spaces is confusing to me.  Why would Catholics want to be more like Protestants?  I will never understand this.  Catholics have the source and summit of our faith – the Eucharist – and for 40-plus years now, so many Catholics in our country have turned their own backs to it and tried to encourage all of us to do so.

There are some people that may not like the idea of a distinction between the nave and the sanctuary.  Interestingly enough, the article discusses the root of the word sanctuary, it comes from the word “holy” which means “set apart.”  The sanctuary is the holy place where our Lord comes to be with us, and I think it makes sense to set it apart because we are not yet in Heaven.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking I need that barrier between myself and the Holy place of Heaven?  I mean, I know I am not worthy to receive our Lord, I say so every Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  Where does this idea come from that we are on a plane with Jesus while we are still in this world?  

Photo Credit

It seems to be the case that many Catholic churches are returning to the use of Altar Rails, many with swelling parishioner support.  Even with my parish’s “modern” structure, I look forward to the day when there is a distinction between the sanctuary and nave of our church.  It’s nice that we have kneelers currently so that those of us who feel drawn to do so, may kneel in front of our Savior to receive Him.  How wonderful it will be when there is simply a rail all the way around the Altar?

I think it’s beautiful to consider the Altar Rail as the meeting point between Heaven and Earth. 

Perhaps with a greater distinction between what is holy and what is not, there might be greater consideration and reverence when approaching to receive the Holy Eucharist.  I believe it would help me and my children.  There is so much confusion, I fear, in our broken world.  I sometimes wonder how deep the belief runs in us (yes, myself included) that we truly are receiving our Lord – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Eucharist.  As fallen human beings, it is truly something difficult to wrap our heads around, that our Lord would humble Himself to be with us in this way.  I like to kneel to receive because it helps me focus on this aspect and puts me in a better frame of mind.  And I’m fortunate to have this option at my parish.  

Perhaps a visual reminder, such as an altar rail, will cultivate that sense of awe, wonder, amazement and evoke the reverence that is due as one approaches the edge of Heaven to receive His Holy Grace.

What do you think?  Do you have Altar Rails in your church?  Do you have a preference with regard to their presence?  


 

Monday Mumbles – 32

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Today, I mumble from the comfy confines of home as I am off work for the day. Nothing special really, just a paid day off from work. I’m not high enough on the totem pole to get to take 2 weeks off around Thanksgiving time and have there still be time left in the summer to take an actual vacation. 
1.  I hope you all had a lovely Father’s Day.  Ours was pretty low-key.  Mass in the morning, followed by Brunch.  Then we came home and just lounged around.  Craig had to work the graveyard shift so he needed to sleep, the baby fell asleep in the car, so he was out and I was feeling kind of yucky, too.  So, it was good we all just stayed quiet for the day.
2.  I did manage to get to the Boot Camp session they have on Sunday evenings since I won’t be able to go tonight.
3.  I have my first School Board meeting tonight.  I’m excited to see how that goes.
4.  Sarah has her first summer volleyball game tonight.  I am excited to see how that goes, too.
5.  I took this picture below yesterday…on the left is my foot.  On the right is Sarah’s foot.  My feet are not small (I wear size 9 or 9.5)…
6.   My phone interview Friday went okay.  I don’t get the feeling I will get this particular job, but I’m on the radar now in a different department where I could get more exposure within my company.  We’ll see what happens.
7.  Saturday night’s #cathsorority meet up with Maggie and Katie was awesome!  We had dinner and literally talked for something like 3 hours.  So. Much. Fun.!!!  There’s just not much that can replace having time with other Catholic ladies where you can talk about the challenges and Grace and generally awesome experience of being Catholic and loving it.
8.  I am planning to write a post about how I think you get your kids ready to fly the coop.  It’s not because I want my kids to fly the coop now, but I think you have to start from very early on to get them to understand that self-sufficiency by a certain age is a requirement or else the parents end up doing everything and the kids learn nothing and then…well, then you have a bunch of lazy-ass kids who don’t move out when they become adults.  And that is NOT something I am interested in having.
9.  I was talking with our pastor after Mass Sunday.  We are getting a church-full of new pews and the layout of the church was sitting on the table.  I asked a few questions and he explained that it’s a more traditional layout.  Then he showed me that he’s moving the front pews back so that ultimately, he can install a communion rail.  That sounds so cool!  (We attended Mass at a parish in Richmond, VA in April that had their communion rail still in place and I was so glad the girls still had the opportunity to kneel to receive the Eucharist like they have at our parish.)  He also mentioned that he tried to find a layout where he could move the choir to the back (we don’t have a choir loft), but it was a logistical nightmare…so up at the front they will stay.  Anyway, I am very excited about all of this.  Our parish church was built in the ’60’s, which means it’s a “modern” style, so there are some challenges, but I like how Father has handled those challenges so far. 
10.  Our new associate pastor (newly ordained a month ago) said Mass Sunday morning.  Very cool.  I look forward to all the positive changes having two priests at our parish will bring!
Have a great Monday!!

7 Quick Takes – 26

— 1 —
I think sometimes there can be an attitude of self-righteousness that pervades our attempts to do good and influence others to live a holy life.  I will go on the record and say that I don’t believe reading a book is a sin.  I don’t believe reading a book with lots of sin in it is a sin, you’re reading a book!  Reading the book is your action.  When we start judging another person’s heart based on the fiction they decide to read (especially if we have decided not to read it and don’t know what the book is about other than snippets and soundbites), it makes me sad.  It’s almost as if there is nothing safe from the “mommy wars” — even an escape into a good fictional story.

— 2 —
Boot Camp is bringing me to Jesus.  Don’t believe me, do ya?  Well, on Thursday evening, we did something called Timed Volume.  I would imagine you could do it with any old exercise, but we did it with pushups.  So we do 6 pushups (trainer/coach counts) and then we stay in pushup position “resting” for 6 seconds and then we do 6 pushups, then 6 seconds.  You get how it goes, right?  Well we did that for 6 minutes.  When he said we were halfway through, I realized I needed to do something to keep going.  So, I started thinking about Jesus on the Cross and I reminded myself things could be so much worse.  I had tears and sobs, not to mention sweat, but I just kept working.  I am not going to lie to you…I felt awesome afterward!  Not awesome in, it felt good, but awesome in, “Wow!  I did that!”

— 3 —
I’ve been going to Weight Watchers at work since February.  I did really good and hit 5% milestone a couple of months ago and then everything went to %^&*.  So, I felt like I was starting over a few weeks ago.  I committed to making sure I hit a weekly meeting all the way through the summer.  This shouldn’t be hard because I don’t have any Thursdays off work until August.  So, I knuckled down.  This past week was cool.  I got 53 activity points.  Part of that is using my new pedometer – that rocks!  The other part is I have worked out consistently.  So, I had a really nice loss to show for it yesterday.  And I can feel something changing.  I know next week will be challenging (due to physical challenges) but I am already telling myself how I don’t want to go backward anymore.  So I am already gearing myself up to stay on the wagon.

— 4 —
Today is our floor’s monthly food day.  I am pep talking myself all over the place to still stay within my daily balance because I have an outing tomorrow where I may have a drink or two and I want to save my “extra” points for that.

— 5 —
Speaking of that outing.  I get to meet up with From the Heart’s Maggie and NFP and Me’s Katie tomorrow!!!!!!!  So excited to finally meet Katie.  We’re gonna have some din-din and drinks!  Yay!!!

— 6 —
I have kind of hit a rut with motivation at work.  I need to find my mojo again.  But, I’ve been doing the same thing for 4.5 years.  That is SO not my style.  I like to move around, learn new things.  I have a meeting with a recruiter in 45 minutes.  Pray for me, that I can work together with her to find a path to new adventures around here, if that be what’s in store.  I am seriously feeling like I am banging my head against a brick wall and don’t have anywhere to go.  I am fairly happy with the work I do, it’s just old…and I am ready for something different.

UPDATE – I have a phone interview this afternoon!  Please say some prayers because this might be a great opportunity to get to do something new (and not take a drop in pay, either!)

— 7 —
It’s Father’s Day on Sunday.  Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are so strange for me.  I never know what cards to get or if I should get a card for my parents.  And then of course, I need to make the day special for Craig who is the most wonderful father to our children.  He is involved in our childrens’ lives in so many ways and I am so thankful to have him to share this experience with.  Hope you all have a blessed Father’s Day!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!